My name is Ariella Rada and I am an Ethiopian Jew who immigrated to Israel in 1984 with my mother, uncle and my two older sisters. I was three years old at the time, and I have lived in Israel ever since. My mother traveled from Ethiopia to Israel while looking after her three daughters and her younger brother. She made the long journey to Israel without any financial support from her family. During her long journey to Israel, she became accustomed to death. Many Ethiopian Jews died along the way, yet my mother struggled every day to keep her family alive. Like many Ethiopian Jews, my mother’s dream to return to the home of our ancestors after 2000 years motivated her to complete the journey. Her Zionist beliefs and willingness to risk everything including her life for those beliefs has been a great inspiration in my life and has motivated me to represent Israel and the Jewish community.
In early August, I arrived in Canada and began my internship at CJPAC. I wanted to volunteer for CJPAC because I strongly believe in their mission. What impresses me most about the organization is its continuing effort to strengthen the connection between Israel and Canada. I wanted to be part of an organization that shows Canadians a different side of Israel – a side that overcomes the vilified stereotype that is unfortunately seen constantly in the media. Most significantly, CJPAC teaches people the importance of advocacy and encourages them to engage in the Canadian political process in order to represent Jewish community interests in Canada. These activities increase understanding, skills and enthusiasm in the decision-making process and ensure that our community’s voice is heard. The participation of citizens gives us the ability to have an impact on political decisions. In the short time I have spent at CJPAC, I have already been able to see how the organization equips people with the information and support they need to get politically engaged and make a difference.